ADHD is Not an Illness

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ADHD is Not an Illness

Medical terms like “disorder” or “disease” or “syndrome” are used for serious medical conditions like diabetes, cancer and sickle-cell anemia. ADHD can sometimes be called a disorder or a syndrome – but these labels impact how we view ourselves and how others view us as individuals.


Head Up ADDYTeens! Having ADHD does not means you are ill, or sick or broken. It’s wrong to think about ADHD as an illness. Even though medication can be involved, you are not mentally ill.


Medication for ADHD is kind of like glasses or contact lenses-it doesn’t heal a disorder, but it can help you to function better. Glasses help eyes to focus and you can choose to wear them or not. Glasses don’t make you smart, bad vision does not make you dumb either.


Do you think your friends who wear glasses are ill, or sick or broken? No way.


But medical terminology around ADHD can make us sometimes feel broken in some way.  If you think about yourself as diseased or disordered, that doesn’t help you move forward. It tends to make people feel that there is something really wrong with them, and that they can’t do what they want to do due to their disability. There are some good things about it, and there are some difficult things about it. Don’t overthink it.